Harpeth Conservancy coordinated this 2012 multi-agency effort that gained national and state recognition for the City of Franklin, Harpeth Conservancy, TDEC, Beaver Creek Hydrology, and all of the partners for the removal of the lowhead dam in Franklin. The largest single funder for this significant river restoration project was a $350,000 grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service that Harpeth Conservancy managed. In addition, Harpeth Conservancy secured over $70,000 more in funds so that the city of Franklin’s final cost was only one third of the total. The lowhead dam removal project’s success was based on the tireless efforts of every partner group, and the dedication of the city’s engineering and parks department.
NOW the Harpeth is one of the few rivers in TN that is entirely free-flowing and its fish populations have already responded based on the fish study by TN Wildlife Resources Agency. The removal of the lowhead dam was a condition of the city of Franklin’s water withdrawal permit issued in the fall of 2007. This same permit also set limits, for the first time, on how much river water could be withdrawn by the city for its small drinking water plant (which is NOT its main source of drinking water).
NOW we can all celebrate the fact that the river no longer looks like “Before” – when the city used to draw water until none flowed over the lowhead dam, creating a stagnant pool, and drying up much of the river’s flow in that stretch during the summer.
Local and National News Coverage on the Project:
- Harpeth River and the associated “Lowhead Dam Removal and Stream Restoration Project” was first recognized as a National Fish Habitat Partnership’s “Waters to Watch”, read more here!
- In 2012, the Lowhead Dam Removal Project was recognized as part of President Obama’s American Great Outdoors’ River Initiative, read more here!
- Watch the Tennessee Wild Side‘s video coverage of the project here!
- See Tennessee Wild Side’s Releasing a River, where a guide takes you to the project site in Franklin, TN.
- See Tennessean cover story from August 9, 2011, “Harpeth’s only dam set for demolition: Project is big step in reviving river”.
- Watch News Channel 5‘s two part story on the project here!
- See 2013 article in Tennessee Public Works Magazine, “ Franklin’s Harpeth Restoration is National Model”
- Watch our 4 minute live DAMCAM time-lapse video here!
- See USA Today‘s article spotlight on Franklin, TN from July 26, 2012 below!